Bradford City have been reinstated to this season’s FA Cup with Budweiser Competition after successfully appealing a decision to remove them for fielding an ineligible player in the Second Round tie against Brentford.
On Friday [7 December 2012], The FA Challenge Cup Sub-Committee removed the League Two club from the 2012-13 Competition following a breach of Competition Rule 15(j)(i) in that they did not have the necessary written permission for Curtis Good to play in the Competition, while on loan from Newcastle United, by the 12pm deadline on Friday 30 November prior to the fixture that evening.
However, an FA Appeal Board considered the Club’s appeal today [Wednesday 12 December 2012] and made the following observations:
a) The Board considered in full the submissions and noted that the focus of the appeal was to consider whether to expel Bradford City from The FA Cup was either unreasonable or excessive.
b) In doing so, the Appeal Board accepts that the failure to obtain and submit the acceptance from Newcastle United giving approval to play the player by noon on the match day was a genuine error and recognised that corrective action was attempted as soon as the omission was discovered and that no attempt to deceive was made. The Club are to be given credit for this.
c) The Appeal Board noted with interest that the representative of The FA Cup Committee confirmed that no alternative option than expulsion was considered and that the decision was based on “custom and practice”.
d) It was also suggested by The FA Cup Committee that “the rules are clear” and the Appeal Board accepts that to be the case in that the Committee has the ability to make such penalty as it considers appropriate and may remove a club. This allows the Committee appropriate flexibility.
e) Having established the ability to make an alternative decision the Board consider the issue of reasonableness and sanction.
f) Firstly, the Board accepts that it is reasonable to expel a club where they have fielded an ineligible player, therefore, that element of the appeal was dismissed.
g) They then turn to the issue of excessive penalty and are drawn to the fact that the effect of any decision and sanction needs to be appropriate, proportionate and fair.
h) Taking into consideration that the immediate disclosure before the game, the fact that the player was for all other intents eligible and was only barred through a genuine administrative error of notification, that no consideration had been given to an alternative option that the decision was in the Appeal Board’s view excessive.
i) Therefore, that element of the appeal was upheld and the decision varied.
j) The Club are reinstated to The FA Cup Competition and are fined £1,000.
Bradford’s Second Round replay with Brentford will go ahead at 7.45pm on Tuesday 18 December at Griffin Park.